If you’ve ever uttered the phrase, “I feel bloated,” you might know that the sensation can sometimes come with a change in your appearance. But bloating happens to a lot of people — and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. One bodybuilder is proving just how normal it is with a series of photos that have quickly gone viral.
As noted by Refinery29, social media fitness queen Michelle Middleton recently shared a set of side-by-side pictures to show her followers what it looks like when she gets bloated. “I pretty much know which foods are going to do it…but sometimes I will eat it anyways,” Middleton explained, noting that Greek yogurt, protein powders, and various fruits and vegetables are most often the culprits. (It’s worth noting, however, that the foods she listed also carry a lot of nutritional benefits.)
In the comments, Middleton’s followers are sharing the foods that make them feel bloated, as well as writing that they relate to the photos that she posted. “I look like that while I’m bloated,” one commenter said, while another wrote: “Girl, ME TOO!” Of course, bloating doesn’t look the same for everyone, but her openness definitely resonated with others.
Middleton also later clarified that her “after” photo wasn’t taken on the same day, despite others assuming that it was. “Yes I do get bloated but I don’t magically lose 15 lbs and have abs,” she wrote, offering a candid explanation for the series. She also added tips for others who might experience frequent bloating, including talking to a doctor and considering a food sensitivity test.
Bloating is extremely common. It usually isn’t the sign of something serious, but if you experience other serious symptoms in conjunction with it — for example, constipation, blood in your stool, weight loss, intense pain, or reduced appetite — you should get to a doctor. The bottom line? While it’s totally normal to feel bloated (and even look bloated), you should always check with your doctor if you’re worried or in an extreme amount of pain. But as Middleton noted in her post, you shouldn’t feel embarrassed by your stomach; bloating happens to many of us, and there’s no need to feel any shame whatsoever.
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